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November 6, 1937


JAMA. 1937;109(19):1544-1545. doi:10.1001/jama.1937.02780450048014

Thirty-five years ago William Osler wrote:

To modern pharmacy we owe much and to pharmaceutical methods we shall owe much more in the future, but the [medical] profession has no more insidious foe than the large borderland pharmaceutical houses. No longer an honored messmate, pharmacy in this form threatens to become a huge parasite, eating the vitals of the body medical. We all know only too well the bastard literature which floods the mail, every page of which illustrates the truth of the axiom The greater the ignorance the greater the dogmatism. Much of it is advertisements of nostrums foisted on the profession by men who trade on the innocent credulity of the regular physician, quite as much as any quack preys on the gullible public. Even the most respectable houses are not free from this sin of arrogance and of ignorant dogmatism in their literature. A still more dangerous